The late Paddy O Sullivan, founding member of Tralee Swimming Club and first Club Secretary has meticulously documented a font of invaluable information and has, over the years, filed a great deal of written material, which was a wonderful research resource. The history of swimming and bathing at the bathing slip is a work in progress and will be expanded as more information is uncovered and studied.
The bathing slip was a very popular spot all during the years preceding world war two, when trains traveled regularly from Tralee to Fenit. Normally, three trains made the journey each day to Fenit. Several excursion trains were laid on each Sunday during the summer months. Huge numbers availed of the train service to Fenit and most of them traveled home on the late returning train. In those days very few youngsters could swim and anyone plunging off the slip was considered to be a man. Crowds gathered on the high ground overlooking the bathing slip to watch the brave swimmers.
During the fine summer evenings it was customary for the swimmers to sun bathe on the warm concrete, where there was plenty of shelter from the prevailing south- westerly winds. Incidentally, no female dared to step foot on the bathing slip in those early days. In the late thirties, the slip began to show signs of wear and tear. Gradually serious deterioration began to set in. The patrons at the time carried out minor repairs themselves. Holes and crevices here and there were filled in and a little plastering also helped to keep the structure together. Around that time also, the swimmers built a pillar and erected a diving board to replace a less stable structure which had been washed away by the winter storms.
As well as an enormous local entry, competitors travelled from Cork and Limerick. Many of those who participated in the gala or who came to watch were visiting Fenit for the very first time. All were very impressed by the excellent facilities, the pure clear water and the spectacular beauty of the village. This very first gala put Fenit on the map as an ideal holiday destination for water sport enthusiasts and established an indivisible bond between Tralee Swimming Club and the village of Fenit, which has persisted to this very day.
Kerry County Council officials were so impressed with the quality of the work and the wonderful civic spirit shown in Fenit to improve a valuable public amenity that they extended the path from the entrance stile to the end of the beach. This new path made the journey back to the newly extended bathing slip much easier as half the route now had a solid path. The path was also enjoyed by people of all ages who were able to enjoy a stroll and relax on the timber benches, which were strategically situated along the path.